Eye on Nature: Ethna Viney answers your queries

Queen wasps, starlings, disease-free ash and common plume moths

 

I have a number of sheds made of SmartPly, and I’ve noticed that wasps have been making their nests out of this material [strands of wood coated with resin and wax] . This year I saw many wasps entering and leaving one of the sheds, and I left them alone. Recently high winds blew one of the doors off and revealed a nest 18in wide, with a very large wasp – probably a queen – walking past the larger opening.
John O’Connor
Dundrum, Dublin

It may have been a queen preparing to hibernate, judging by the photograph you sent.

I saw a spectacular starling murmuration between Newcastle and Kilcoole earlier this month – thousands of birds, and mesmeric shapes, growing in number as smaller flocks rose up from the reed beds. Also, on Bray Head, I watched a peregrine mobbing and seeing off a buzzard. Peregrines have been present on the head for many years; the buzzard is a more recent arrival, trying to horn in on an established territory.
Paddy Demery
Kilcoole, Co Wicklow

The starlings were possibly European migrants.

In the context of recent ash dieback, is it time to collect the seed of disease-free ash trees and freeze them in a repository, for planting when the disease has gone or is curable?
Dennis Hawke
Fanad, Co Donegal

In mid October the little fellow in my photograph came into the house. What might it be?
Liz McCarthy
Portmarnock, Co Dublin

It is the common plume moth, Emmelina monodactyla.

Ethna Viney welcomes observations at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, or by email at viney@anu.ie. Please include a postal address

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